Mittanshu Satla founder and CEO of Twisted Tiffin started from Goa and has spread out to Pune and is working non-stop during this lockdown period by delivering his tiffins, timely and hot. INCUBEES got to know from him that even during odd times the will of an entrepreneur matters to attain success.
INCUBEES: Tell us about your services?
MITTANSHU SATLA: Our services are operational in primarily two cities Goa and Pune. The entire idea of Twisted Tiffin is to provide standardized affordable meals across the nation. A part of our business model is to standardize and make restaurant food affordable and available in individual portions so people get to order a variety of combinations in individual quantities and restaurants get three times more orders with a reduced ticket size. We identify under-utilized kitchens of restaurants and get them on board to produce food for us out of a standard menu. This model gives the restaurant a good chunk of incremental revenue in addition to their usual business keeping their fixed costs constant.
However, after the outbreak of the pandemic we have pivoted to a subscription based model where we deliver single-serve Thalis prepared by 5-Star hotel chains across the city and offer them on a subscription basis for 7 days /15 days /30 days. Our motto is to deliver standardized, affordable food just like a regular tiffin, but our tiffin is a slightly modernized, premium version of a tiffin. The food is cooked by a 5-star restaurant chef and does not burn a hole in the recipient’s pockets.
INCUBEES: What makes your services unique and what competition do you see in India and globally?
MITTANSHU SATLA: Taste pallets change every 50 km if you travel in any direction across India. Even a “daal” is made differently across different regions and we cannot have a standard recipe throughout as people want regional specific recipes and flavors in their everyday food. This is the biggest challenge and the biggest opportunity. The way we look at ourselves is that we are not a solution to people’s cravings like an on demand model, restaurant or a QSR, we are a solution to peoples necessity. At the end of the day we are just providing standardized affordable wholesome food at a price that’s affordable to the masses. We are not a cuisine or product specific company and do not intend to be one. We would serve anything that a common Indian could afford to pay for and provide a value for money, wholesome enriching experience everyday when it comes to food. It is ultimately a tiffin. However, the way we are doing this is by taking restaurants and hotels on board thereby saving on huge manpower and real estate cost, and based out of a standardized menu getting food produced with already existing F&B players in the market thereby creating an ecosystem where everyone plays an important part and everyone is beneficial.
Competition is everywhere and we cannot avoid that. What we can do, is leverage everyone in the ecosystem and give them sufficient amount of business trying to keep the end cost of our product as low as possible.
INCUBEES: What are the challenges you see in the market at this point of time?
MITTANSHU SATLA: People have got extremely skeptical about ordering food from outside and that is the major challenge our industry is facing during the pandemic. This calls for a service that people can trust on and rely which is why we introduced the subscription model where we provide basic wholesome everyday meals from 5 Star Hotels across the city with utmost focus on hygiene and sanitization. Logistics costs are huge and maintaining unit economics with that into consideration is also a major challenge, nonetheless we have always foreseen this and have taken into consideration the challenges and devised solutions to those challenges. Moreover, providing meals at a price point that we do, requires a good order volume without which it doesn’t make much sense for our kitchen partners in the ecosystem to operate. So, generating those numbers in times like these is a major challenge as well.
INCUBEES: Tell us about your team and what inspires them?
MITTANSHU SATLA: Our inspiration lies in the idea getting executed and seeing results for ourselves. The journey from 0 to 1 is the most difficult journey for any individual or company especially when operating out of extremely limited resources. We have always stood by our basic idea of making food affordable in the toughest of times and intend to do that in future as well.
INCUBEES: Where do you see your service reaching in the next five-years?
MITTANSHU SATLA: A global expansion is where we aspire to reach in the next five-years. Our ultimate vision is to cater to under $2 meals across the world by creating a strong ecosystem network of F&B enterprises worldwide. Times are tough and have been tough in the past as well, however, we have been very flexible in adapting to any kind of market conditions so far and have come out successfully every single time. Does that mean we have done everything right? I don’t think so. Its just that we have been extremely flexible and service oriented at any given point of time and never burnt cash so far.
INCUBEES: Do you have plans to raise funding to grow your business or allow your business to organically grow?
MITTANSHU SATLA: Funding has never been our goal and it is not a solution, it is just an enabler or a catalyst. We have grown organically so far and unless we have a strong projection of estimated future revenues we would not want to risk someone’s money. We plan to stay asset light and go as far as we can. Having said that, our aspiration of a global expansion would definitely require funding and we would be open to like-minded people who would like to back us up financially.
INCUBEES: What are the challenges you face as a startup?
MITTANSHU SATLA: Challenges are a part of the startup journey. Most of the times we overcome them or at times just navigating through them makes more sense. Major challenge is bootstrapping a startup as its not easy from a founders perspective. One puts a lot on the line, lifestyle changes and friends disappear. As a startup one foresees an ideal company and works in order to reach there. The challenge is that, this long term goal has to be attained through a series of short term goals and the journey to attain these short term goals every time feels like a rut at times and one tends to lose sight of the ultimate vision or the picture they had initially painted, it gets blurry. This is a challenge we have faced, however it is important not to lose sight and stay focused. There are a ton of other external challenges that we faced but being flexible and adaptable is a mantra that has worked for us every time.